Post-traumatic stress disorder develops in response to unhealed traumatic experiences that a person is unable to process. Without the ability to process such experiences, there can be no healing. With no healing, there’s a possibility for emotional pain. Humans are resilient creatures and develop defense mechanisms in order to escape or alleviate the pain associated with a traumatic event. It’s these defense mechanisms that create the possibility of PTSD. If you’d like to learn more about what causes PTSD, please don’t hesitate to contact our PTSD treatment center today.
Psychological Responses to Trauma
When the brain is not able to process fear, violence, death, threats, or abuse, there is a harmful effect on an individual’s psyche. Being unable to process trauma often causes problems down the road when people with unhealed and unresolved trauma encounter an emotion or event that aligns with how they felt during or after experiencing trauma.
It’s at this point where difficulties begin to set in. These individuals are unable to react in socially and emotionally appropriate ways when confronted with day-to-day conflicts and emotions. It can cause people to lash out inappropriately when they’re nervous or retreat when they feel conflicted.
When this happens, people become alarmed that they are seemingly unable to control their own emotional responses. Family and friends become concerned as well. That’s when PTSD treatment must be considered as a solution.
Common Causes of PTSD
You may be wondering what causes PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with the short-term and long-term psychological effects of trauma. Even if you are not harmed by traumatic events, the fear or stress you experience may be enough to triggers anxiety, depression, paranoia, or self-doubt.
Examples of traumatic events include:
- Fear of death while experiencing or witnessing a trauma: things like survivor’s guilt can be a part of this.
- Unresolved feelings after the death of a loved one: perhaps loved ones died but you never had a chance to resolve arguments or disagreement you had with them.
- Worrying that something bad will happen long after the trauma has ended: this can make facing similar situations difficult.
- Ongoing subjection to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse: there may seem like no way to deal with a situation if it keeps occurring.
- Engaging in military combat one or more times: as we know, battle scares can’t always be seen.
- Witnessing violence or the death/injury of someone else: if this is a totally new experience, it’s difficult to know how to cope with it.
You may not be equipped to handle such events psychologically. As a result, you eventually develop a mental disorder that you are unable to manage. PTSD causes can range from military combat and car accidents to abuse, assault, or witnessing a natural disaster. You may also suffer from PTSD causes such as sudden death or injury.
Regardless of your trauma, you can seek trauma therapy for PTSD at a mental health treatment center in order to begin the healing process. Waiting to do so isn’t in your best interest.
Fortunately, therapy can be an outlet for those who may not have verbalized their trauma in the past. It may be unsettling to discuss trauma for most individuals. However, it’s often a necessary step for recovery in many cases.
Why Does PTSD Develop?
What causes PTSD may not be clear until you understand the connection between your trauma and your mental disorder. Unfortunately, PTSD can happen immediately. However, you may not notice how or why it develops until several months or years after the event. There are several reasons why PTSD develops, including:
Most of us are born with various types of survival mechanisms, which are adaptations that help us cope with threatening situations. A traumatic situation can cause you to use your survival mechanism even when there is no need. You may react quickly to a normal situation that causes you to feel threatened. You react this way because you don’t want the trauma to happen again.
Abnormal Stress Hormones
Studies about PTSD reveal that victims sometimes have abnormal stress hormone levels. High adrenaline production may be a contributing factor to what causes PTSD after the trauma. When you feel scared, paranoid, or threatened, your body creates unusually high levels of adrenaline that can lead to panic attacks or anxiety disorder.
Changes in Brain Function
Brain scans show that people with PTSD have a smaller hippocampus, which is a part of the brain responsible for memory and emotions. The decrease in the hippocampus may be due to fear and anxiety, as well as flashbacks of the trauma. As a result, you may have more difficulty processing your memories. This is why nightmares or flashbacks may occur long after the trauma occurs.
PTSD and Addiction
Addiction to drugs or alcohol may also be what causes PTSD. You may drink or take drugs as a way of self-medicating when you have anxiety or depression related to your trauma. However, chemical substances can make the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder even worse.
Substance abuse can alter brain function and hinder you from processing your trauma in a healthy way. If you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may want to seek help from an addiction treatment center in Portland, OR.
Treatment for PTSD is Available at Crestview Recovery
If you suffer from PTSD or have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can get help at Crestview Recovery. We offer comprehensive treatment for what causes PTSD. To find out more about your treatment options, call us at 866.262.0531. We can get you on the path to recovery.